On Now
Coming Up
  • Sun., Sep. 21, 2014 2:25 PM MDT Denver Broncos at Seattle Seahawks The Denver Broncos face the Seattle Seahawks in the team's first road game of the 2014 season. The game will be televised on CBS.
  • Sun., Oct. 05, 2014 2:05 PM MDT Denver Broncos Pink Game The Denver Broncos annual Salute to Survivors halftime recognition, celebrating breast cancer survivors at the team's game against the Arizona Cardinals.
  • Sun., Oct. 05, 2014 2:05 PM MDT Broncos vs. Cardinals The Broncos face the Arizona Cardinals on Sunday, Oct. 5 at 2:05 p.m. MT. The game will be broadcast on FOX.
  • Tue., Oct. 07, 2014 8:00 AM - 5:00 PM MDT Drive for Life XVII

    Bonfils Blood Center and the Denver Broncos work together on an annual Drive for Life event which is the largest single day blood drive in Colorado.

    Tuesday, October 7, 2014
    Sports Authority Field at Mile High
    Click here for more information about the 2014 DFL event.

    Learn more from Broncos Executive Vice President of Football Operations/General Manager John Elway and 9News' Cheryl Preheim about 2014 Drive for Life.

  • Sun., Oct. 12, 2014 11:00 AM MDT Denver Broncos at New York Jets The Denver Broncos travel to Met Life Stadium to take on the New York Jets on Oct. 12, 2014 at 11 a.m. MT. The game will be broadcast on CBS.
  • Tue., Oct. 14, 2014 5:00 PM - 7:00 PM MDT Hometown Huddle Broncos Hometown Huddle
  • Sun., Oct. 19, 2014 6:30 PM MDT Denver Broncos vs. San Francisco 49ers The Denver Broncos take on the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday Night Football on NBC.
  • Thu., Oct. 23, 2014 6:25 PM MDT Denver Broncos vs. San Diego Chargers The Denver Broncos take on AFC West opponent the San Diego Chargers on Thursady Night Football on NFL Network.
  • Sun., Nov. 02, 2014 2:25 PM MST Denver Broncos at New England Patriots The Denver Broncos travel to Gillette Stadium to take on the New England Patriots in a rematch of the 2013 AFC Championship. The game will be broadcast on CBS.
  • Sun., Nov. 09, 2014 2:05 PM MST Denver Broncos at Oakland Raiders The Denver Broncos face their AFC West foe Oakland Raiders on the road. The game will be broadcast on CBS.

News & Blogs

Print
RSS

When a Game Goes Off-Script

Posted Oct 13, 2013

Independent analyst Andrew Mason's take on Sunday's 35-19 Broncos win against the Jaguars.

DENVER -- Football isn't a drama or sitcom, nor is it the forced-narrative realm of "reality" television. It's completely unscripted, and the beauty of it and other sports is its ability to defy any expectation.
 
Rarely was a result more widely assumed than the one Sunday between the winless Jaguars and undefeated Broncos. Both of those descriptors still applied after Denver's 35-19 win, but the blowout expected by many onlookers never materialized.
 
This isn't college football. The worst and best teams aren't separated by scholarship discrepancies and massive funding disparities. Cupcakes only exist at the media-room buffet. And if you're just a bit off -- even with an offense in the midst of the best six-game start in NFL history -- you will be dragged into a brawl worthy of the Old West, or perhaps the broadcast news scene in 1970s San Diego.
 
All it took were a few flubs: some dropped passes, a pair of fumbled snaps, a throw down the seam that came up well short of Wes Welker and was returned 59 yards for a touchdown by Jacksonville linebacker Paul Posluszny. It wasn't a matter of effort or even focus; these were simple mistakes.
 
“Yeah, I think our focus is there," said Manning. "I’ve never noticed a lack of focus. Just the execution wasn’t as sharp. I wasn’t as sharp on a couple of decisions -- certainly on the interception, that was a bad decision, just a complete force."
 
For the first time all season, the Broncos were off-script.
 
And not long after Manning's interception, the reaction was equally unexpected as the Broncos headed to the locker room following a 1-yard completion to end the first half.
 
Boos.
 
And they weren't because a few people wanted to practice for Halloween.
 
The sound didn't come from all of the fans, or even a majority. But it was enough to be heard through the thick panes of glass on the press level, and to be picked up by television and radio microphones. The team that was undefeated, has the NFL's longest active regular-season winning streak and scored more points than anyone ever has through five -- and now, six -- games heard it from the fans.
 
"I was kind of shocked, because I've never heard boos here," cornerback Chris Harris said. "You don't usually hear that from our fans."
 
It's a reaction that you would have expected and understood two and three Octobers ago, when the Broncos lumbered back through the southwest tunnel with halftime deficits of 35 and 21 points en route to 45- and 35-point losses. But now? After one shaky half following five wins by an average of 18.2 points per game -- and a half that saw the Broncos lead by two points? At best, the boos seemed questionable; realistically, they were harsh.
 
"Everybody's got to understand that this is the NFL," said defensive end Malik Jackson. "We're not just going to go out there every week and blow teams out of the water. We're just going to keep working hard, get on our P's and Q's and try to get out of (each) week with a win."
 
This became a distant memory by the late afternoon. The Broncos outscored the Jaguars 21-7 after halftime; the defense got a three-and-out, a red-zone stop and two interceptions out of their five second-half series, and order was restored.
 
Maybe the smattering of boos was an overreaction to a game that veered wildly from the popular expectation, since so much pregame chatter revolved around how soon the backups would enter. Perhaps it was a result of the decision not to attempt a scoring drive before halftime; Harris thought that might be the case. Or perhaps it was simply the product of a fan base that has bought into the lofty standards the players often speak of setting from themselves.
 
That's how Wes Welker saw it.
 
"We have high expectations, too," he said. "We understand that they have high expectations for us, and we feel the same way.
 
"I'm sure there are a lot of us that wanted to boo ourselves. We understand it. I almost appreciated it. It kind of got our butts into gear and get ready to play out there."
 
But that doesn't mean the Broncos want it to be a permanent addition to the home-game script.
 
"I mean, we’re still winning. We’re undefeated," said Harris. "It’s hard to ever hear us get booed, but if an undefeated team gets booed, then anybody in the league can get booed.”
 
With six wins, the best point differential in the NFL, a defense that will regain its most dominant component and an offense still on pace for a slew of passing records, they've earned a bit of patience through any balky first halves to come.
 
After all, the Broncos' average second-half margin is 25-13, compared with 19-13 for the first half. A post-halftime surge is part of the script, too. It just takes a bit of time for it to play itself out.
 
"Just be patient with us," said defensive tackle Kevin Vickerson. "We're going to be alright."

Facebook Comments

Let us know your thoughts. Comment below through Facebook, AOL, Hotmail or Yahoo accounts.